Is this a verse that J.W.s' don't have an answer to?

by hubert 30 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • gumby
    I am an "evildoer" and I did get "a blessing"

    Oh yea.....then where is it? Show it to me.

    Kiddin ya buddy. I know what you mean.

    Witnesses never have assurance of salvation. if they are lucky enough to make through armageddon, they have to sweat out making it at the end of the 1000 years when Satan is loosed.

    Even their annointed can fall from grace and be replaced because they believe the "sealing" hasn't been completed( them being tried and tested before they die) as they believe armageddon follows the final sealing of these. They have hope....not assurance of a promise and a gift..... as most christians believe

    Gumby.....speaking from a biblical perspective of course

  • moggy lover
    moggy lover

    I think that one of the problems that we are having here is understanding the meaning of the word "Paradise" We assume that Jesus was referring to heaven. The evildoer on the cross was a Jew and he would have grown up with the teachings of the Rabbinical schools in his mind.

    While that man [and Jesus for that matter] was alive he would have been taught the meaning of "Paradise" and the writings that he would have had were: The Midrash [ Gen 68, Ex 48, Lev 405 etc] and the Babylonian Talmud [Berakoth 173, Shabbath 589] both of which began to be written some two centuries before Christ.

    During the intertestamental period the vast body of literature mentioned above, [called collectively "Rabbinic Literature" and which included such writings as the Midrash, the Talmud, and the Targums] began a detailed description of the afterlife, including the meaning of Sheol. In time a concept developed which saw Sheol as being made up of two compartments or divisions. One was a section of abandonment called "Abbadhown" and the other was called "paradise" or "Abrahams Bosom" This section, which was a place of concious bliss, was the eventual reality to which pious Jews would aspire to on death. To this place the pious would be carried by a vanguard of angels. Much of the rabbinical literature alluded to above even went to great lengths to discuss how many angels it took to carry the righteous to "Paradise" or "Abrahams Bosom"

    This rabbinic understanding of Sheol formed the basis of Christ's parable of Lu 16:19-31. So, rather than disabuse the Jews of His generation of a concious afterlife, Jesus used their own teaching and thus gave it a Divine Fiat. Thus when Jesus made reference to "Paradise" He knew what that evildoer would expect. That on that very day, both he, and Jesus would descend into the "Blessed" section of Sheol.

    So, yes, on that very day, Jesus and the evildoer went to Paradise.

    In Pauline writings, however we see a development of understanding which took place after Christ's resurrection. Thus, Paul uses the language of transition when He speaks of Christ taking the righteous out of the "Paradise" section of Hades/Sheol and bringing them into heaven. Thus it was only then, that heaven became the abode of Paradise. Whereas "paradise" in the gospels referred to the righteous section of Hades/Sheol, by the time Paul wrote 2Cor 12: 2-4, it was now placed in the "third heaven"

    The only places where one would read of some concious place of a future Paradise earth, is in so-called "pagan" literature such as the Zoroastrian Zend Avesta. Which means that when the WTS affirm their belief in a future paradise earth, their basis is something other than Scripture.


  • ozziepost

    Downunder we have a certain well-connected Beffel elder who'se explanation is that the evildoer couldn't possibly have gotten resurrected that day - 'cos he wasn't baptised!!!!

  • mdb


    How could anyone be with Christ in paradise that day? Christ didn't ascend himself that day. it was several days later, no? Seems the WT comma placement explination makes sense.

    Where was this paradise then? You are correct, Jesus did not ascend into heaven until after the resurrection so the "paradise" Jesus was talking about could not have been heaven at that time.

    With Christ in Paradise

    And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” ~Luke 23:43

    He first descended

    But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:
    “When He ascended on high,
    He led captivity captive,
    And gave gifts to men.”
    (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) ~Eph 4:7-10

    Abraham’s bosom (incorrectly interpreted by the WTS as not literal)

    So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
    “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
    “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ” ~Luke 16:22-31

    The grave/ Sheol and Hades

    The grave (sheol (Hebrew), hades (Greek for sheol)) is not hell. Hell is the place of the future punishment call “Gehenna” or “Gehenna of fire”. This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction. In the period of the divided monarchy, this valley was the site of a pagan altar, or “high place” (see Deut. 12:2), known as Tophet (“fireplace”). Parents sacrificed their children there to the god Molech. The Bible singles out Ahaz and Manasseh, kings of Judah, as having led the way in this grotesque ritual (2 Chr 28:3; 33:6). But Scripture praises King Josiah for destroying this idolatrous altar during his reforms (2 Kg 23:10). The Valley of Hinnom would become a cemetery known as the Valley of Slaughter (Jer 7:31–32; 19:1–6; 32:35). In time, the valley became so noxious that its name became a synonym for hell. The Hebrew phrase ge (“valley of”) hinnom eventually became the Greek Gehenna (Matt 5:22; Mark 9:43, 45, 47).

    Hades is the region of departed spirits of the lost and also included the “blessed” dead in periods preceding the ascension of Christ. So it (the grave) consisted of two compartments, or states: torment for the wicked, and paradise for the righteous (Luke 16:23-31 the parable of Lazarus and the rich man).

    The thief on the cross was with Jesus "that day" in paradise (Abraham's Bosom). Now with Christ ascended to heaven, we go to be with Him.

    We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. ~2 Cor 5:8

    But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. ~Phil 1:22,23

  • Leolaia

    Gumby....We've already been discussing this matter on the "Commatology 101" thread. Many ppl forget that in the Jewish-Christian concept of the resurrection, there is an intermediate state between death and resurrection.

  • TopHat

    The Fact remains, that Jesus DID NOT go to heaven that perhaps the comma belongs after the word, TODAY.

  • Leolaia
    Thus when Jesus made reference to "Paradise" He knew what that evildoer would expect. That on that very day, both he, and Jesus would descend into the "Blessed" section of Sheol.

    The problem is that "Paradise" really isn't used with this sense in ancient sources. It is always used to either refer to the quasi-earthly Garden of Eden (so the LXX) or the heavenly abode of God which is either Eden itself, preserved in heaven as 2 Baruch 4:6 puts it, or the heavenly counterpart of Eden (as in the Greek Life of Adam and Eve). See 4 Ezra 4:7-8, Life of Adam and Eve 25:3, Testament of Levi 18:10, 2 Enoch 8-9, 2 Corinthians 12:2-3, Revelation, and rabbinical sources. There are also many other texts that refer to a heavenly destiny for those in their intermediate state (and/or immortality), including Josephus, Testament of Abraham, the "Book of Parables" of 1 Enoch, and some Qumran texts. The "bosom of Abraham" is not a set phrase referring to a section of Sheol; it clearly refers to a heavenly Paradise in Testament of Abraham 20:12-14. It only has reference to Sheol/Hades in the Adversus Graeces of Hippolytus (third-century church father), misattributed to Josephus by the ninth-century writer Photius, and the author was possibly interpreting Luke rather than reporting authentic Second Temple eschatological traditions. There was, in fact, an early view that posited that the righteous and wicked resided in different sections of Sheol (cf. 1 Enoch 22), but I have not seen any text that applies the term "Paradise" to the underworld place of the righteous. Since "Paradise" had Edenic connotations and was explicitly used to refer to God's own abode, it does not seem likely that Hades/Sheol would be construed as God's abode. On the other hand, late texts (such as 2 Enoch and 3 Baruch) place Hades and Tartarus/Gehenna in a lower level of heaven.

  • Terry

    Does there exist any one simple sentence in the Bible that cannot be parsed, sliced and diced in opposite and apposite directions?

    Where and when something is spoken drives a hard bargain toward understanding the intention behind the words.

    I ask that you try the following experiment.

    1.Ask some brutish neighbors to scourge you with Roman instruments of torture.

    2.Have a local woodworker to build you serviceable stake/cross on which you can be hanged.

    3.Carry it some distance after suffering the scourging.

    4.Have nails driven into your hands and feet.

    5.Hang there for a while.

    Now, as your excruciating experience, loss of blood, certain death and utter torment washes over you in wave after wave toward your demise, do this:

    ENGAGE IN CONVERSATION which is thoughtful, accurate and evaluative using as many extraneous words or phrases as necessary!

    In other words: IT IS ABSURD!!

    The phraseology attributed to a tortured and dying men (Jesus and his two companions) is least plausible when it comes to what Jesus is purported to have said.

    The scripture sounds more like something Three Seepio might say to Luke Skywalker than what a man in mortal peril would utter in his dying breath.

    This entire scenario is utter bollocks.

    For us to sit around two- fracking- thousand years later puzzling it all out like scrabble tiles for score is bullshit.

    Nobody knows what happened on Golgotha, period!

    There was no recording device available and no court reporter jotting it all down. None of us has the slightest idea of anything that happened 2 millennia before us.

    Why go on pretending we can parse this myth for ACTUAL SEMANTIC SENSE???

    It is mind-boggling what a lunatic premise it is to think we can!

    The Jehovah's Witnesses do not stand or fall in their use of a comma toward some dogma or other. Jehovah's Witnesses stand are fall on their UNPROVABLE date of 607 b.c.e.


  • Leolaia
    The Fact remains, that Jesus DID NOT go to heaven that perhaps the comma belongs after the word, TODAY.

    The decision on how to translate the text and place the comma is based more on the immediate context and syntax (rather than theology), which favors the placement of the time adverb with the saying rather than the introductory formula (i.e. "Today you will be with me in Paradise").

    What is presented as a "fact" is rather an assumption; the text does not state where Jesus went in his intermediate state, tho it does say that Jesus entrusted his spirit into the hands of his Father. Yes, he did not ascend to heaven as a resurrected person until much later (in the context of Luke), but that has no bearing on his intermediate state. There was indeed a common belief in the first century that the righteous go to heaven to await resurrection (in various Jewish sources), and this idea appears in the NT as well.

  • Leolaia
    Why go on pretending we can parse this myth for ACTUAL SEMANTIC SENSE???

    I have to strenuously disagree with you. You seem to assume that if a myth has no basis in historical fact or is a fictional story, it is pure folly to pretend it is any meaning whatsoever. That's just not true. Myths or any other stories and narratives do have meaning and it is perfectly valid to discuss it and try to understand what the story is saying within its context. Haven't you ever taken a literature course before and studied fiction? It is absurd to claim that a fictional story lacks meaning and could not be studied in its own right. One does not have to accept a story as historical or true in order to take it seriously as a piece of literature.

    I'm trying to offer a perspective on what the passage means in its literary and cultural context, not "disprove the JWs", tho a side-effect of this discussion is to reveal a probable inaccuracy in the NWT....

Share this